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(A7) Science Education
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adedios
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 14, 2006 3:36 pm    Post subject: (A7) Science Education Reply with quote






Science Education for Paetenians

Background

The computer classroom, like any classroom, is a place, first and foremost, for learning and not teaching. This is simple but nonetheless an important point. When we focus on learning, we provide an environment that is rich in opportunities for discovery and inquiry. On the other hand, an emphasis on teaching may carry the detrimental scars of negative experiences adults have had acquired as well as our own limitations.

Learning requires facilitation. It begins with resources and continues with guidance. Learning consists of the following domains: Input, Perception, Processing and Understanding.

Input

There are two modes for input: Visual and Verbal. Some students would prefer to see images, pictures, charts and diagrams, while others learn better with their ears listening to spoken words or with their eyes reading a written text.

Perception

This can likewise be divided into two distinct parts: Sensing and Intuitive. Sensing involves collection of facts: Seeing, Hearing, Touching, Smelling, Tasting. It is data collection. The intuitive sense prefers a theory explaining a collection of facts. Intuition aims to make sense out of facts and anticipate or predict future observations.

Processing

Again, there are two: Active and Reflective. Active requires seeing with one's eyes, experiencing directly. Reflective, on the other hand, requires imagination and thought processing.

Understanding

Even this one is of two types: Analysis versus Synthesis, or Sequential versus Global. In the first (sequential), parts are seen as steps, one leading to another. Global, on the other hand, sees the big picture.

All four domains are significant and each type under each domain is important. To succeed in education, resources are required for each of these domains and more importantly, teaching should facilitate the acquisition of these learning skills. Students, especially children, are generally visual, sensing, active and sequential learners. It is within this premise that the science lessons found in this forum are being assembled.

Huge Stumbling Blocks

Learning requires both resources and assistance. Resources require money. The problem the Philippines is facing with regard to science education is tremendous. The Philippines is lacking in both resources and manpower. Teaching science, indeed, is a daunting task, for any grade school or high school teacher especially with the notion that the teacher is supposed to pass on knowledge to his or her students. With this objective, it is clear that the Philippines may not be able to address science education at all. With the assumption that teachers are supposed to be bearers of knowledge, the task does become impossible.

Focusing on learning provides a more effective way of addressing the issues science education in the Philippines faces. Teachers as facilitators of knowledge as opposed to acting as bearers is much more within reach. Nevertheless, this will still require effort. Teachers cannot facilitate learning if they themselves refuse to learn new things. Nothing can be achieved without time and effort.

The science lessons with the topics categorized are tools for teachers and parents. Each lesson starts with a news article. This news article is usually a text explaining in layman's or popular language a recent scientific discovery. These articles are generally short as they are only meant to appetize one's quest for knowledge. The bulk of the science lessons lies in the exploratory questions found near the end of the article. These questions are asked and answered by links to websites that have been chosen for their clarity, correctness and style. These links will bring the reader to web sites that contain excellent resources for learning. An example is about symmetry and shape. This example illustrates what the internet could provide that blackboards and textbooks cannot. (Please check out this link to see what some of these links are about)

Focusing on learning allows us to see what the major stumbling blocks are. It is with this awareness that we may be able to address the issues plaguing science education in the Philippines effectively. Here are the stumbling blocks.

Reading

Teachers who do not read cannot expect students to read. Teachers who do not explore new things cannot expect students to learn. The visual and verbal components of learning are important since knowledge does not spontaneously enter our minds without our effort. Reading is one of the basic skills by which we can gain information.

The language problem is serious. The silver lining, however, is that reading is still a much easier task than writing. Science, as opposed to literature, talks directly. Words may be chosen to be precise. There are likewise highly technical words. However, the language requirement is quite different from what literature would require. In science, words are usually learned by practice, by seeing them in context, by understanding when these words are used.

Mathematics

Science is often quantitative. However, a large fraction of science is qualitative. It is equally important to develop skills of classification, generalization, making assumptions, and logic. These are not highly quantitative and can be discussed in a qualitative or semi-quantitative fashion. Understanding science does require a sense of numbers and a sense of shape. But it is with these requirements that science may be able to facilitate the visual, sensing, active and sequential preference of today's learners in Mathematics.

Adults

Believe it or not, adults in the society are a major stumbling block for science education in the Philippines. Chemistry and Physics are among the most despised courses in college. The science lessons in this forum are likewise for the adults. We may or may not like it, but sooner or later, most of the issues that we will have to deal with will require us to know our science.

Conclusion

I have learned so much in the past couple of months assembling the science lessons. I only hope that Paetenians will join me in these efforts. Knowledge, unfortunately, is unlike a virus that can easily transfer from one host to another. Knowledge requires time and effort. And we can only help in the education of the youth of Paete, by becoming facilitators of their learning.

The Science Lessons for Batang Paete are found in:
http://paete.org/forums/viewforum.php?f=12



References:

Felder, R.M. and L.K. Silverman (1988). "Learning and Teaching Styles in Engineering Education,'' Engineering Education, 78 (7), 674-681, April 1988.
http://www.ncsu.edu/felder-pub.....S-1988.pdf

Felder, R.M. (1989). "Meet your Students. I. Stan and Nathan.'' Chemical Engineering Education, Spring 1989, pp. 68-69.
http://www.ncsu.edu/felder-pub.....athan.html

Soloman, B.A. (1992). Inventory of Learning Styles, North Carolina State University.
http://www.engr.ncsu.edu/learn.....lsweb.html


Last edited by adedios on Sat Jan 27, 2007 12:53 pm; edited 8 times in total
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 15, 2006 11:17 am    Post subject: Science Education in Paete Reply with quote

Science Education for Paetenians (continuation)

The "Science Lessons for Batang Paete" are based on a philosophy that incorporates what we know about learning into teaching. The forum does not recommend to abandon the traditional lecture-based classroom. Instead, the suggestion is to tailor the lectures with a style that takes into account the preferences of learning. With these in mind, one can see the rationale behind the structure of each lesson.

Each lesson begins with a news article. Learning requires an impetus, a reason that will serve as a starting point.

The news article is followed by questions. Without questions, it is difficult to begin seeking answers.

The questions are answered by links to websites. Efforts were made to arrange the questions in some useful pedagogical order. Most of these websites are chosen for their visual content. Some of these websites are dynamic. Some are interactive. Some carry audio material.

Each lesson ends with interactive games to attract further the interest of the learners.

As a summary, the "Science Lessons for Batang Paete" provides resources that hopefully will facilitate the learning in the classrooms. These, unfortunately, are just resources. These simply embody a starting point. To make the forums work, it requires participation. The forums will only facilitate learning if there are facilitators. And this is the call for all parents and teachers. Reading and examining the contents of the forum is the next step.
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 16, 2006 2:58 pm    Post subject: Science Lessons: How do we assess? Reply with quote

Science Lessons: How can we tell if these are working

The Science Lessons for Batang Paete provides a framework and an environment, through which learning science and seeing how it affects the way we think and ultimately our daily lives, can be attained. Whether these lessons are succeeding can be measured at two different levels.

Exams

At the first level, the scores in standardized exams in mathematics and science would be a good measure. The lessons were not formulated with the tests in mind. In fact, the contents of these exams were not considered in assembling the lessons. Nonetheless, as long as the exams have a fair and balanced coverage of the sciences, performance in these exams can be used as an indicator of the usefulness of the science lessons. The science lessons as they are focused on learning should enhance the skills of the student. In other words, the richness in content may be clearly evident in the science lessons. However, one of its important features lies in its outline, in which learners are guided on how to explore concepts, ideas and phenomena. It is expected that the time spent on these lessons will translate into developments in reading, mathematics and reasoning. Thus, it is expected to have an impact on almost every aspect of education.

The placement of the science lessons in a forum creates an atmosphere of feedback. Messages and queries can be posted. Conversations on various topics can be cultivated. These pages are dynamic and they could become interactive with our participation. Although the webmasters of paete.org could access the statistics of the forum and determine how frequent the science lessons are being used, what is more significant is the fact that the readers; students, teachers and parents, can post. It is this aspect that makes the Science Lessons for Batang Paete unique. And at this early stage of the forum, it is hoped that this interactive capacity, a capability that is built on a framework of science lessons, will grow with time.

The science lessons are far from actual laboratory work. Laboratory work would require new resources, which the schools in Paete may not have. Frequently, the most important skill is not so much about doing experiments. A lot of questions that we need to answer are often dealing with what is already known out there. It is just a matter of using and applying this knowledge. The wheel does not need to be reinvented everytime. What is lacking most of the time is an appreciation of what is already known. What is severely lacking is a critical eye that can browse at resources that are already available. Students do not know how to digest information. Students do not know how to read scientific literature. If Paete is able to exploit the information that is available on the internet, this will be an effective and cheaper route to education and technology. In the end, the true exams will be on how we apply science as we address important issues that affect our lives in Paete.

Real Life

The true test of the science lessons lies in our daily lives. Paete is unique in its great presence on the internet. Both forum and the private mailing list witness lively conversations among Paetenians. Our understanding of science will be revealed by the conversations we carry. Science will touch almost every issue we need to face in the future. Our politics will reflect how much we understand science as we try to tackle the various challenges Paete is facing. Our choices will reveal the real scores. It is in the way we face issues that are relevant for the well-being of Paete, will we see our understanding of science.

Smog

Discussions regarding air quality in Paete are important. There are economic factors that need to be considered. But more importantly, there are questions regarding health. How we address this challenge involves consideration of facts. The following science lessons provide good starting points for discussing this issue:

http://www.paete.org/forums/viewtopic.php?t=1192
http://www.paete.org/forums/viewtopic.php?t=996
http://www.paete.org/forums/viewtopic.php?t=962
http://www.paete.org/forums/viewtopic.php?t=748
http://www.paete.org/forums/viewtopic.php?t=1114

Waste Management

As the town of Paete embarks on a Zero Waste management, education is crucial. An understanding of how we create waste, how waste affects the environment are necessary to draw the right action. The following science lesson will be particularly helpful:

http://www.paete.org/forums/viewtopic.php?t=1174

Tourism

Being declared as the "Carving Capital of the Philippines" in addition to the natural beauty of Paete does pave the way for opportunities for a vibrant tourism industry. The following lessons can be helpful in understanding how we may be able to preseve the natural beauty of Paete:

http://www.paete.org/forums/viewtopic.php?t=952
http://www.paete.org/forums/viewtopic.php?t=885

Livelihood

Economics is important. Livelihood projects are necessary as Paete addresses issues of poverty. The mayor has recently outlined various livelihood programs. Under each of these programs, there are science lessons that are now available. These lessons may be helpful in understanding what these programs entail.

1. TINAPANG TILAPIA
We have an on going tilapia hatchery in our river
near the mouth of the lake. We have completed the
seminar on tinapang tilapia. Our plan is to supply
raw tilapia to the people and the Municipio will buy
the tinapa from them. We will handle the packaging
and marketing to major supermarkets in Metro Manila.
Raw (live) tilapia would cost Php 50 / kg of 6 pcs per
kilo. We can sell the tinapa (6 pcs/kg) for Php
90-100.

Science lesson(s):
http://www.paete.org/forums/viewtopic.php?t=1060
http://www.paete.org/forums/viewtopic.php?t=885

2. CHARCOAL BRIQUETTE
Charcoal briquette production from bio waste is also
one livelihood project that we are pursuing right now.
At the moment, we have one set of machine ( locally
manufactured at Php 90,000 / set) producing 60 kg of
charcoal briquette per day. Raw materials are free,
and almost unlimited i.e. water lily, coconut husk,
palay husk; busil ng mais; banana leaves, etc. We are
selling the briquetted charcoal at Php 20 per kg.

Science Lesson(s):
http://www.paete.org/forums/viewtopic.php?t=765

3. GOAT RAISING
Upgraded "Bower breed" of goats will be raised at sitio
Papatahan. We are planning to develop a 10 hectare
area for this purpose. We will start with 20 does
worth Php 10,000 each and one ram worth Php 25,000.
Rate of kidding is 1-2 kids twice a year. We can sell
the goats at Php 4,000 per head at 4 months old. Milk
can be marketed at Php 30 per litter.

Science Lesson(s):
http://www.paete.org/forums/viewtopic.php?t=981


4. VIRGIN COCONUT OIL
A private company is planning to put up a factory in
sitio Lam-ao for this project. They will put up the
extracting machinery and bottling facilities in
Lam-ao. Coconut farmers in the area will sell their
produce to this company.

Science Lesson(s):
http://www.paete.org/forums/viewtopic.php?t=848

5. COFFEE PLANTATION
Because of coffee shortage in the country (according
to NESTLE Phil), this is becoming a popular agri
venture in Paete. About thirteen (13) hectares in
sitio Macumbo and Sta. Ana are already planted with
coffee. The first harvest is expected middle of next
year.

Science Lesson(s):
http://www.paete.org/forums/viewtopic.php?t=753


6. REHABILITATION OF LANZONES
This is a flagship project of our Municipal Dept. of
Agriculture. We have idenfified 15 lanzones plantation
with an average area of 1,000 sq. meters each to be
rehabilitated. Prunning, scraping of barks, proper
irrigation, and fertilizer application are some of the
procedures for the rehabilitation program. After a
year, we expect significant improvement in production.
The second phase is expansion. Grafted lanzones will
be distributed to upland farmers which are expected to
bear fruits within 7 years as compared to 25 years
starting from seeds.

Science Lesson(s):
http://www.paete.org/forums/viewtopic.php?t=952


7. BAMBOO SETUM AND BATIKULING CLONING
A 4 hectare demonstration farm in sitio Macumbo is
earmarked for this project. It will be a tripartite
agreement between the Municipality of Paete, the
private lot owner and the Eco-system Research and
Development Bureau of DENR. The MOA is expected to be
signed within this year. About 50 different species of
bamboo (including ornamental) will be propagated in
the demo farm. The bamboo will be an alternative
material for wood for our handicraft industry.
Batikuling, the major wood species used by our wood
carvers together with other species such as ?gemilina?
will be cloned and planted in the 4 hectare demo farm.
While waiting for these woods to mature, as a
continuous source of raw material for our wood carving
industry, inter cropping of high value crops such as
herbal/ medicinal plants, corn, garlic, peanut etc
will be part of the livelihood project of the farmers.
The seminars for Bamboo setum propagation and
Batikuling cloning have been conducted by ERDB last
month.

Science Lesson(s):
http://paete.org/forums/viewtopic.php?t=1193

The true test of how much science we are understanding will lie in the decisions that we make in the future. It will be evident in the conversations that we share. It will show, without any doubt, in how we live our lives.
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 18, 2006 4:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Closing Remarks:

Instead of writing my own closing remark, I would borrow the following commentary by Professor Richard Felder: (The article maybe speaking about US schools and kids, but these equally apply to the precious children of Paete)

Felder, Richard, "There's Nothing Wrong With the Raw Material."
Chem. Engr. Education, 26(2), 76-77 (Spring 1992).

THERE'S NOTHING WRONG WITH THE RAW MATERIAL
Richard M. Felder
Department of Chemical Engineering
North Carolina State University
Raleigh, NC 27695-7905

In the Institute Lecture I was privileged to deliver at the Los Angeles AIChE Meeting last November, I spoke about the quality of American students. I reviewed the dismal statistics on standardized test scores and the anecdotal evidence that many American students can't read, write, or do mathematics and science anywhere near their grade level or find anyplace in the world on a map. I might have added that too many of them are also without dreams or ideals: their ambition goes as far as getting through school, landing a high-paying job, and buying the large-screen television with HBO and MTV that will meet their educational and cultural needs for the rest of their lives.

Teaching these young people in college can be a pretty joyless experience. Intellectual curiosity, creative thinking, and excitement over ideas simply don't show up, in or out of class. Most students won't offer ideas or respond to questions because they don't want to risk being wrong, and they almost never ask questions themselves except the ever-popular "Are we responsible for this on the test?"

In Los Angeles I speculated on the causes of this situation and concluded that while a complex array of sociological factors have played a part, the American precollege educational system must accept the principal burden of responsibility. I also cited some evidence that the problems only become visible at the fourth- or fifth-grade level and get progressively worse through high school.

Not long ago I got some first-hand evidence supporting the latter observation. As part of the NCSU-Wake County Scientist-Teacher Partnership, I visited a fourth-grade class in a rural community outside of Raleigh. I spoke a little about what scientists and engineers do, ran some chemistry demonstrations, had the students do some experiments on detection of acids, and talked about acid rain.

It was a remarkable experience---I couldn't hold those kids back. Early in the class I divided them into groups of four and gave each group two small closed vials containing colorless liquids, one labeled "H" (which contained water) and one labeled "V" (for vinegar). Before I gave them the vials I told them we would do some experiments to figure out which one was acid and which was just water. As soon as they got the vials, they took off. They shook them, sniffed them, held them up to the light. One child saw that one of the liquids was somewhat thick and bubbly when she shook it and the other behaved more like water, and she guessed that the first one was the acid. Another student in the same group saw the H on the second vial and said "Yeah, that probably stands for H_2O. Someone in another group detected a faint aroma coming from one of the vials, saw the V on it, and said "This one's vinegar---hey, is vinegar an acid?" I hadn't opened my mouth yet!

The whole class went like that. The children flailed their hands in the air after every question I asked, hoping I would call on them. They debated vigorously about the experiments they were performing and came up with possible interpretations that hadn't occurred to me. They asked questions about acids (including "If I poured some of that on his head, would it go all the way through to his feet?"), and acid rain, and what scientists do. They asked if they could do more experiments. When I finished they swarmed around me, showing me work they had done in class, asking more questions. They told me they wanted to be chemists, physicists, veterinarians. Not one mentioned anything about getting an engineering degree followed by an M.B.A. and starting off at $50,000 a year.

I left the classroom exhilarated and remained charged up for the rest of the day. I conclude that no matter what's wrong with our educational process, there's nothing wrong with the raw material. But I also keep thinking that in two or three years, maybe fewer, the lights will start to go out in those bright eyes, and by the time they get through high school most of those excited, curious kids will have become classroom zombies. What a shameful, inexcusable loss, both for them and for society!

Interest in educational reform is at a high level at the moment as SAT scores continue to decline and U.S. students continue to get trounced by European and Asian students in science and math tests. However, the commonly proposed remedy is to go "back to basics," which to most people means increased drilling in elementary reading, math, and science. Let's find out what they need to know on the SAT's and cram it into them with a trowel. If they can't do multiplication when we give them 15 repetitive problems a week, then let's give them 50. Let's hit them with more and more drill on vocabulary and "science facts" and get them to repeat the words and facts often enough to be sure they can do it on the California Achievement Test. They're not learning enough in five and a half hour days and nine-month academic years? OK, let's do the same old stuff but keep them in school six hours every day for 11 months---that should do it!

It won't, of course. Neither will "freedom-of-choice" schemes that let those who can afford it send their children to better schools, overcrowding those schools and leaving the others as dumping grounds for the underprivileged. What might do it is attracting large numbers of our best and brightest young people to join the woefully inadequate number of inspired educators out there now at considerable personal sacrifice. Meeting this goal requires above all paying teachers a decent salary, reducing their class sizes, removing their nonteaching responsibilities, and empowering them to take an active role in determining academic policies and procedures. We must also find ways to provide all of our schools with the resources they need to do their job effectively---modern instructional materials, laboratories, computers, multimedia facilities, and in-service training on how to make classrooms exciting centers of learning and creativity. Industry-school and university-school partnerships can play vital roles in these efforts.

There can be little doubt that all of these steps would move things in the right direction. Unfortunately, they all cost money---much more than loading on more drill and cramming in more facts, which may be economical but won't accomplish anything useful. Equally unfortunately, finding the necessary money will among other things probably require---forgive me---raising taxes, while providing a mechanism for assuring that the money goes where it's needed and not into creating additional layers of administration.

Polls show that Americans are willing to invest more in the future of our children and our country, which expenditures on education represent, but our "education president" and many of our other elected representatives don't want to hear about it. However, if we follow their lead and persist in limiting ourselves to solutions that cost little or nothing, we will get little or nothing in return. We will still be complaining about student quality in the next century, and the lights will still be going out in our children's eyes. I hope we are unwilling to let that happen.
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 21, 2006 12:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

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PostPosted: Sat Jan 21, 2006 2:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The above slides were prepared and presented by Anne Lan to the teachers of PES, IES, QES and PEQMNHS. Present during this meeting were the mayor of Paete, Laguna, Ka Noel and the councilor who chairs the education committee of the Sangguniang Bayan, Robert Pascual. Also present were members of the Oracle Philippines team. I managed to participate in the discussion via a webcam session.

Remarks

The main message of this introductory presentation is the use of technology in teaching and learning. Anne Lan, the founding chairperson and director of PAETEch, explains a major shift in the mission of the organization. The new focus now emphasizes the use of the computer to enhance and assist education. It is no longer computer education.

The change in fact is revolutionary and will require us to reexamine our traditional views of education. Here are the important points to consider:


    1. A greater focus on learning means a shift away from the traditional didactic nature of the classroom. The teacher is no longer a "Sage on stage", but a "Guide on the side". What this means is that the teacher will spend more time assisting the students find, gather and learn information. This will require the teacher to participate in the process of learning. This will demand from the teacher both time and effort in examining what resources are available on the internet to ease the learning process of the children in the classroom. This will lead to a continuing education of the teacher.

    2. The use of the internet opens the boundaries of education. The resources that are available are frequently multidisciplinary in nature. Students will learn mathematics, reading, history, social studies, and science at the same time. The science lessons are of this nature. The topics discussed in science touch almost every aspect and subject in elementary and high school education. As we build a database of educational materials, we are no longer confining ourselves to a limited collection one would find in a library.

    3. The use of the internet brings a community together. With resources from the world wide web, both students and teachers can now access information from the world experts. With a forum such as ours, teachers and students can communicate with each other and with those of us who are physically not in Paete. Our forum records this conversations and discussions so that everyone could share.

    4. The use of the internet provides us greater flexibility in time and space for learning. The science lessons are available 24 hours, 7 days a week. The forum is likewise open 24 hours, 7 days a week.

    5. The internet resources can easily get updated. In a changing world, it is important that information is up to date. The resources need to be tailored to Paete. They should address topics that are of relevance and interest to the people of Paete. This new paradigm that emphasizes learning provides the much needed flexibility and freedom so that we could explore and choose what we need to learn to improve Paete.


What Lies Ahead


    1. Usap Paete will continue as a resource for the elementary and high school education in Paete. For these resources to fluorish and match the needs of Paete, feedback and participation from the students and teachers of Paete is necessary.

    2. Think.com has been launched in Paete. The schools in Paete are the first in Southeast Asia to join. This program provides an additional environment in which we could all collaborate to develop learning materials as well as assist in the learning process of the students in Paete. Think.com offers a secure web and email service for the children of Paete. Think.com also opens Paete to a thousand schools all across the globe, paving a way for our students and teachers to interact with schools in other countries.


Using the Internet Requires Guidelines

As AnneLan points out, "The internet can be a good source of information and knowledge, but if we are not careful, this can also lead to the corruption of the learning process."


    1. Hoax versus Facts. We need to know the difference. Search engines can bring us to all sorts of sites on the web. How do we find which ones are useful requires a trained eye and mind? Efforts will continue in supplying educational links and sites to the schools. It is hoped that with time, increased familiarity and awareness, the users in Paete will begin to develop critical skills necessary in determining the worth of a specific piece of information that is taken from the internet.

    2. Think.com will provide an environment appropriate for developing critical skills. As teachers and students prepare their own materials on the web, critical thinking will be developed.



These changes dramatically open education to all. We must now realize that education is no longer a sole responsibility of the teacher inside the classroom. This is now a community with one objective: To learn so that we may be able to improve and bring a brighter future to the town of Paete, Laguna.
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 02, 2006 8:48 am    Post subject: Science Teaching at PEQMNHS Reply with quote

When I came back home to Paete, I can't imagine myself being a plain housewife even for a short while. I need to do something. I need to practice teaching again. The only problem is where. Then Paete NHS community took me in. I never felt better. Handling students and sharing science with them is my life. So even without the pay I used to get back in QC, I stayed and become happier each day. For deep in my heart I know I made a good decision.
Being a science teacher I've been trying to make my students learn by doing simple experiments and varied learning activities. I tried to make them live and enjoy the many things around us. But then it's just not good enough. Students today need more than just to see and believe what we say or do in class. True enough exposure to technology- cellular phones, internet games, cable TV among others can hold their attention with uninhibited responses at the longest time possible. With that your initiative of offering these resources for the elementary students in Paete would surely boost up learning of science concepts and other key learning skills. And when they go to high school, which most of them choose to be with us at PEQMNHS we will reap greater success. That is why I highly commend you and the PAETECH people for finally letting our school be a part of this program. I look forward to collaborating with you through this forum. I remain.
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 01, 2006 12:55 pm    Post subject: Science Lesson: A View from a Thousand Miles Reply with quote

To provide solutions, one needs to understand the problem thoroughly. Science education requires several factors to succeed. Some of these factors are straightforward to see.

Resources are obvious factors. The lack of laboratory equipment can surely preclude a "hands-on" learning experience of science. Expensive textbooks can prevent students from obtaining guidance and information.

Expertise in the fields that need to be taught is likewise a factor that one can examine if there is problem in science education. Teaching science requires knowledge and training in the sciences. With a didactic methodology that emphasizes a transfer of information from the teacher to the students, the experience and knowledge of the teacher becomes of paramount importance.

Matching the teaching style with learning preferences of the students is an additional factor that requires attention. The visual, sensing, sequential and active preference of young learners requires innovative and more effective teaching methods.

With almost five months and about two hundred topics posted in the science lessons forum, these factors were addressed. The articles highlight up to date results from research laboratories. These articles are followed by links to websites that provide important background and basic information delivered in a manner that responds to the learning preferences of young students.

During this initial period, another factor important in science education becomes apparent. Science education, after all, like any human endeavor, requires both time and effort. And time and effort are given only with dedication and interest. What becomes apparent may not be true just for Paete, but for the United States as well. We all live in a world bound by time and we all have options to choose from. With every minute of our lives, we may not be fully conscious, but we are constantly choosing and determining where we should spend our time on. Science education requires time and we will only give that time if we feel that science education is worth our time. The teacher can indeed inspire and motivate the students. Science education can emphasize matter like human health and disease just to catch our interest. Unfortunately, if science education spends all its energy in justifying itself, there would be not time and energy left to teach science.

At a young age, children are inquisitive. They ask questions. They are eager to discover the world around them. Kids do not seem to have the problem of time when it comes to engaging in scientific discoveries on their own. But as we grow older, we begin to construct priorities in life. We begin to develop our own interests. This development does not occur in a vacuum, however. It is shaped by people around us. And the most influential people to any child are the parents. Children make choices similar to the ones made by their parents.

A society that does not value science education will not improve science education even with the best learning resources and methodologies. A teacher cannot adapt a teaching style to learning preferences if there is no interest in learning at all. A child who hears a parent say,"Chemistry, that is the worse subject I had in college," will not see the importance of an education in chemistry. A simple statement such as this, though appearing harmless at first, can have a dramatic and serious impact on the perspective of a child. And unfortunately, a lack in interest in the sciences, once developed at home, cannot be addressed nor remedied in school.

How society values education in general, is a crucial factor in the success of education. It is one factor that I learned while compiling the science lessons.
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 12, 2006 12:53 pm    Post subject: Essentials versus peripherals: Our experience in basic edu Reply with quote

Essentials versus peripherals: Our experience in basic education
STAR SCIENCE By M. Victoria Carpio-Bernido, PhD and Christopher C. Bernido, PhD
The Philippine STAR 04/13/2006

(First of two parts)
In 2002, we introduced a dynamic learning program (DLP) of strategies in the high school of the Central Visayas Institute Foundation (CVIF). This was after three years of full immersion and observation that revealed the weaknesses of prevailing educational programs and strategies. With so much effort and backbreaking work, results were nil or negligible. We then designed the CVIF DLP as a package of solutions to partially solve the problem of a complex system subject to multiple constraints. In particular, we aimed at designing a low-budget yet effective educational program that:

• Is suitable for large classes (>25 students);

• Is less dependent on textbooks;

• Requires less equipment;

• Addresses the English proficiency problem without sacrificing deep understanding of science and math;

• Addresses the spectrum of students from slow to brilliant, from poor to rich;

• Is suited to physical and psychological stages of the youth;

• Reduces teaching personnel requirements;

• Is less dependent on the personalities and abilities of teachers; and

• Has built-in checks of dysfunctional behavior observed in Filipinos while boosting their natural creativity and ingenuity.

Typical of theoretical physicists, we went "back to first principles." We started with setting up targets and the standards by which to measure success. Clearly, we could not define these in terms of the national situation considering the country’s very poor performance in both national and international achievement tests (generally <50 percent proficiency marks). On the other hand, even in advanced countries, there is some alarm over the deteriorating performance of schoolchildren and declining interest in the basic and applied sciences – the driving factors for the technological advances now enjoyed by mankind. To define our goals we thus had to think deeply, distinguishing between the essential versus the peripheral, invariable versus fashionable, primary principles versus secondary, universal versus local and parochial. Schools of thought as to the ends and methodology of education were examined simply as "schools of thought" and not as binding mandates.

At present, our long-term goal is to develop our young people up to the apex of a pyramidal hierarchy of learning. Visual-kinesthetic exploratory learning forms the base, followed by qualitative-conceptual/verbal (explanatory) learning. Of higher order is quantitative/mathematical explanatory learning. The apex – quantitative-mathematical synthesis – is difficult to achieve but is the fountainhead for high-impact creativity and accelerated technological advancement.

Although we thought of these levels of learning to properly train students of physics, these may be applied to other fields such as sports and the performing arts. Athletes who undergo scientific training programs generally do better. Talent and physical endowments are not enough to be competitive when shaving off hundredths of seconds from world records.

(To be concluded) * * *
M. Victoria Carpio-Bernido and Christopher Bernido obtained their PhDs in Theoretical Physics from the State University of New York at Albany (SUNYA) and are founding senior researchers at the Research Center for Theoretical Physics, Central Visayas Institute (CVI), Jaga, Bohol. Marivic is the principal of CVI, and Chris is the president of the CVI Foundation. Prior to their current affiliations, they were faculty members at the National Institute of Physics, UP Diliman. E-mail them at cbernido@mozcom.com.
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 18, 2006 2:02 pm    Post subject: Standard Math, Science curricula planned Reply with quote

Standard Math, Science curricula planned



By MADEL R. SABATER
Manila Bulletin
19 April 2006

There is hope for Science and Math education in the country.

A framework for Science and Mathematics education in the country is now being developed in a bid to come up with a standard curriculum for teaching the said major subjects in both public and private schools.

In an interview with the Manila Bulletin, Science Education Institute (SEI — Department of Science and Technology) senior science research specialist Ruby Cristobal said the development of a framework in Science and Math education has been commissioned to the University of the Philippines — National Institute of Science and Mathematics Education (UP — NISMED) so the country would finally be able to "come up with a basis in creating a curriculum" for the said subject areas.

"The curriculum (for Science and Math) is revised every five years (but there is) no solid foundation for Science and Math, surprisingly," she said.

The framework talks about philosophies, principles and perceived outcomes in Science and Math education. It also includes statements which "will tell you the direction of the curriculum," Cristobal said.

"You address both (student and teacher curriculum) by developing Science and Math framework," she added.

According to Cristobal, the development of a framework in Science involves the country’s top academicians in the said field, including Dr. Tina Padolina and Dr. Lolita Andrada of the UP — NISMED, among others.

For Mathematics, meanwhile, the development of the framework is headed by Dr. Catherine Vistro Yu of the Ateneo de Manila University.

"Both groups (are expected) to produce an output by December 2006," Cristobal said, adding that the output would have to include policies, documents as well as the form of the framework.

The SEI senior science research specialist added that it’s about time the country develops its own framework since other countries, including Australia and Japan, and even the state of California have its own framework in Science and Math education.

"Without the framework, everytime you change the curriculum, you don’t know where to go," she said, adding that the said framework would then be recommended to the Department of Education (DepEd).

"It is up to DepEd and Commission on Higher Education (CHEd) to use it (framework) as a guide in developing the curriculum," Cristobal said.

Earlier, SEI executive director Dr. Ester Ogena cited the lack of teachers specializing in Mathematics and Science as the primary reason for the students’ negative attitude in Science and Math.

"It simply indicates that when teachers are not fully prepared to teach the subject areas, we cannot really have a very good pool of students knowing Mathematics and Science very well," she said.

The SEI executive director also stressed the need for Science and Math teachers to have a good command of the English language.

"In Science, you need proper understanding of the (English) language because there are problem situations given and if you have not understood the context of the problem, then you will not have a good processing of the information," she said.
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 19, 2006 2:37 pm    Post subject: Essentials versus peripherals: Our experience in basic edu Reply with quote

Essentials versus peripherals: Our experience in basic education
STAR SCIENCE By M. Victoria Carpio-Bernido, PhD and Christopher C. Bernido, PhD
The Philippine STAR 04/20/2006

(Second of two parts)
After setting up targets and clarifying standards, we devised strategies and procedures to accomplish our mission in the quickest time, with minimal change in physical and organizational infrastructure, despite inferior resources. These strategies are enveloped in the CVIF DLP, a program mixing traditional methods, individual instruction, distance learning, the Montessori philosophy, and reviving classical approaches such as the no-homework policy. The components of the program are Parallel Classes, Activity-based Multi-domain Learning, In-school Comprehensive Student Portfolios (instead of notebooks), Comprehensive Teachers Portfolio (instead of Lesson Plan Notebooks), Strategic Study and Rest Periods, and Integrated Cultural and Values Formation. (Synchronized classes allow a scenario of "Learning as One Nation" with lectures of a national expert teacher aired live on TV to benefit more students. This would bypass the country’s perennial lack of qualified science teachers. The project is being considered for piloting. On Jan. 16, 2006, the Fund for Assistance to Private Education hosted a meeting of the directors and staff of the Department of Science and Technology-Science Education Institute, the Philippine Science Centrum, and the presidents of the Center for Educational Measurement, the Samahang Pisika ng Pilipinas, and the CVIF, to brainstorm implementation schemes for the project.)

We implemented the CVIF DLP with the Basic Education Curriculum in 2002 and then started the slow deliberate scientific process of continuing improvement and decreasing margins of error (though not precluding quantum jumps with resonance of insights). Focus on targets made us resilient to the misgivings expressed by those who found our methods slow and strange. We knew that before positive results of a major enterprise can be enjoyed, a slowdown may first occur. After the dip, a slow rise begins, and then exponential progression can be anticipated. By 2003, 2004 and 2005, out of about a dozen students who took the University of the Philippines (UP) College Admission Test annually, four, five, and six students passed, respectively, after eight consecutive years without any passers. (UP’s reasonable fee for quality education is helpful for our students who are mostly children of farmers, fishermen, laborers, and tricycle drivers, among others.) Students now do better in our open-ended evaluation activities. However, we are still far from our target number of graduates admitted to good colleges and universities, and who do not find difficulty in college math and science courses. Our other targets (within five to seven years) include competitive performance in international scholastic aptitude tests, and internationally publishable research work of teachers and advanced students. From low baselines in 1999, we are slowly approaching normal conditions for this school year (SY). Starting SY 2006-2007, we shall move more aggressively toward our long-range goals.

Academic performance is not enough. We desire the development of the whole person. Scientific culture is not bred in isolation but catalyzed even as we inculcate civic culture. For example, rules on punctuality in our school demand synchronization of clocks with international time checks. Synchronization demands the availability of quality clocks, thus increasing sensitivity to precision and accuracy – valued by scientists. This has also taught the discipline of timekeeping and the value of a single minute. For a meeting scheduled at 3:45 to 4:45 p.m., teachers generally come two minutes before, assured that the meeting starts at exactly 3:45 p.m. and will end at 4:45 p.m. Following the example, student council officers schedule and start meetings on time.

In teaching math and science, we underscore the stringent rules of logic and the discipline of the scientific method. This value integration seems to have diminished the propensity for gossip, hearsay and unchecked opinions. There is also better appreciation of rules and laws of the community and the nation at large as important for order, progress, and the development of all members of the community.

Echoing the Socratic Method, we have also evolved a more scholarly school culture counter to the more materialistic popular culture. (While respecting "parallel cultures," we note that some cultures foster excellence and progress while others foster squalor, poverty and mediocrity. Note also that there are athletes who are intellectual, and university professors who are not.) In our most recent three-act play, "St. Thomas More," Sir More is portrayed as a loving and dedicated family man who had his daughters educated in a time when women were relegated to less intellectual ventures. One scene has Sir More’s children discussing theories of the earth and the solar system (an opportunity to recap lessons on Copernicus, Kepler, Columbus, and Magellan). Also, the Machiavellian tendencies of King Henry VIII and his advisers were contrasted with the selflessness of Sir More in his perception of the hierarchy of family, king, country, and God. In such plays, our students are exposed to real dilemmas faced by great men and their choices which determined their role in history.

The excitement and challenge of educating our students continue to propel us in our work. We do not deny that there are many difficult moments when our fortitude, stamina, patience and perseverance are sorely tested. However, these are nothing compared to the many moments of profound joy and reverence as we observe our students in the throes of purest creativity and exploration of truths invisible to the physical eye. Moreover, it was when we immersed ourselves fully in the school that we began to see answers to many questions. Why do many children, all the way up to adulthood, fear or hate math and physics? Are there ways of making these subjects enjoyable even while being rigorously mathematical and not just conceptual? How do we transcend linguistic and cultural barriers to uncover universal truths? What would drive our nation to genuine progress and development? (For us, genuine development is not the high-rise condominiums, computers, fancy cars and high-tech gadgets. These are but peripherals. True development means that the people of a nation have achieved high levels of civilization – they are honest, industrious, dutiful, and can maintain clean, peaceful, productive towns and cities in all parts of the country.) We do not have all the answers yet but, clearly, education of the youth remains a fruitful source of insights. * * *
M. Victoria Carpio-Bernido and Christopher Bernido obtained their PhDs in Theoretical Physics from the State University of New York at Albany (SUNYA) and are founding senior researchers at the Research Center for Theoretical Physics, Central Visayas Institute (CVI), Jagna, Bohol. Marivic is the principal of CVI, and Chris is the president of the CVI Foundation. Prior to their current affiliations, they were faculty members at the National Institute of Physics, UP Diliman. E-mail them at cbernido@mozcom.com.
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 07, 2006 2:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

New frameworks for Math and Science to focus on critical thinking and scientific literacy

By MADEL R. SABATER
Manila Bulletin
8 June 2006

The country’s experts in Science and Mathematics are planning to create a new framework in the said subjects which will focus on critical and analytical thinking for Math and scientific literacy for Science.



In a presentation held at the Traders Hotel yesterday by Science Education Institute — Department of Science and Technology (SEI — DoST) director Dr. Ester Ogena during the Workshop on Developing National Learning Strategies in Science and Mathematics, she said the Mathematics framework for students in kindergarten to fourth year in high school would be centered on critical and analytical thinking, including Mathematical reasoning, Mathematical communication, Mathematical connection and problem solving.

She said that findings on the Philippine Mathematics curriculum revealed that the implemented curriculum at present has "little emphasis on developing critical and analytical thinking," which resulted to an attained curriculum (those which are actually learned by students) of 8.2 to 51 percent in Algebra and 8.2 to 19.7 percent in measurement.

"This explains why we’ve ranked that way in the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS)," she said.

Ogena said that based on the TIMSS achievement test in 2003, the Philippines ranked 23rd out of 25 countries for its elementary participants and 42nd out of 45 countries for its high school participants in the field of science.

In Mathematics, the country also ranked 23rd out of 25 country participants in the elementary level and 41st out of 45 countries in the high school level.

The Mathematical framework, therefore, is deemed to strengthen Filipino students’ abilities in Mathematical content, cognitive demands and cognitive values, she said.


SCIENTIFIC LITERACY

The Proposed Science Framework for Basic Education, meanwhile, will be centered on Scientific Literacy, Ogena said.

"We will look at scientific literacy as the main concentration of scientific framework (so we could) expect a progressive and developmental approach in the processes of Science, concepts of Science, habits of mind in Science, and applications of Science.

Ogena said that based on the ‘’Findings on the Philippine Science Curriculum,’’ there had been "minimal emphasis on contemporary approaches to teaching."

There had also been a mismatch between intended and implemented curriculum, she said, adding that the science curriculum is too long to be finished within the academic year

Hence, mean percentage score in Science across content topics was at best 66 percent, she disclosed.

Ogena also said the country lacks teachers who major in the areas of science like Biology, General Science, Chemistry, and most especially, Physics, than teachers in Math.

"The Philippines performs better in Math because most of the (Math) teachers are Math majors," Ogena said.

She also said 73 percent of the Physics teachers need training in the subject area while there are 66 percent in Chemistry, 58 percent in Integrated Science and 56 percent in Biology. Only 20 percent of the Math teachers need training.

Earlier, Science and Technology (S & T) Human Resource Studies and Promotions Program officer-in-charge Ruby Cristobal said a framework for Science and Mathematics education in the country is now being developed in a bid to come up with a standard curriculum for teaching the said major subjects in both public and private schools.

"The curriculum (for Science and Math) is revised every five years (but there is) no solid foundation for Science and Math, surprisingly," she said.

The framework talks about philosophies, principles and perceived outcomes in Science and Math education. It also includes statements which "will tell you the direction of the curriculum," Cristobal said.

"You address both (student and teacher curriculum) by developing Science and Math framework," she added.


TOP ACADEMICIANS

DO THEIR SHARE

According to Cristobal, the development of a framework in Science involves the country’s top academicians in the said field, including Dr. Ma. Cristina Padolina, professor at the University of the Philippines — Los Baños’ (UPLB) Institute of Chemistry and Dr. Lolita Andrada, director of the Bureau of Secondary Education at the Department of Education (DepEd), among others.

For Mathematics, meanwhile, the development of the framework is headed by Dr. Catherine Vistro Yu of the Ateneo de Manila University, who is also the president of the Philippine Council of Mathematics Teachers Educators, Inc. (MATHTED).

"Both groups (are expected) to produce an output by December 2006," Cristobal said, adding that the output would have to include policies, documents as well as the form of the framework.

Cristobal added that it’s about time the country develop its own framework since other countries, including Australia and Japan, and even the state of California have its own framework in Science and Math education.

"Without the framework, everytime you change the curriculum, you don’t know where to go," she said, adding that the said framework would then be recommended to the Department of Education (DepEd).

"It is up to DepEd and Commission on Higher Education (CHEd) to use it (framework) as a guide in developing the curriculum," Cristobal said.
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 11, 2006 1:27 pm    Post subject: Lessons I learned away from school Reply with quote

Lessons I learned away from school

By Likha Cuevas
11 June 2006

“I IS ties the carabao in the morning before I goes to school.”

That is what my student of two weeks wrote in her essay, describing her life in a remote town on an island south of Manila. I was still a student at UP when I volunteered for the UP-Pahinungod Affirmative Action Program that summer to teach English to top (1st and 2nd honors) incoming fourth-year students from various high schools of that province.

The AAP aimed to bridge the “gap” between their high-school education and the level of education needed to pass the UP College Admission Test. However, I realized later on that it was really a tall order. Even impossible, I thought.

I was assigned to that province because, according to statistics from my university, only a couple of kids from there had any hope of passing the test and have the chance to get the low-cost but quality education my alma mater—could give.

It was a naive attempt to solve the problem and it became loud and clear when the reality hit me in the face.

To gauge the English writing and comprehension skills of my students, I told them to write an essay about themselves so I would know where to start my English “workshop.”

Half of the essays they submitted told me how difficult life was for them but despite all the odds that poverty had stacked against them, they still managed to reach high school. All the essays had horrible sentence construction and appalling grammatical errors.

I discovered that most of my students had the English reading and writing skills of fourth graders from the better Metro Manila schools. However, I came to realize that even if their subjects and verbs were forever at war with each other, my students’ intellectual capacities and learning curves were on a par with those of the honor students in Manila.

After a few days I came upon a puzzling discovery: the farther students lived and studied from the provincial capital, the worse their grammar was.

After the shaky start, my students were able to quickly pick up and understand the new lessons. An AAP coteacher told me that after she taught them “advanced” algebra, the students could solve Math problems involving sines, cosines and tangents. My coteacher was surprised because they started off with very basic arithmetic only a few days before.

These students were bright, but why did they have such deplorable academic skills when we started?

Was it because they were not exposed to better books and teaching methods? Maybe some of them often missed school because they had to do farm work first, especially during the typhoon season. Many of them worked in the fields to help bring food to the table, and learning English or solving for x was the least of their priorities.

Or maybe they weren’t motivated enough.

Another AAP batchmate was assigned to northern Philippines, in a place where tribal and political feuds were common. She told me an inspiring story.

She said her students had to walk several kilometers at dawn every day just to reach the schools on time. Most well-off schoolchildren have to be dragged from their soft beds by their mothers so they don’t get late for class.

The AAP in that northern province had students who had to travel on foot for two days before they could reach the AAP site. No food or monetary rewards. These kids just did not want to miss the opportunity to learn more. The horrible terrain did not deter them from benefiting from the program.

I wish all of us had that kind of desire to learn.

Teachers, too, needed help

There was a teacher who faithfully attended my English class every day. She always sat at the back and took down notes. She even raised her hand to ask questions. There I was—a college student—who had a teacher for a student.

At the end of the program, the teacher thanked me profusely for showing her new approaches to teaching children how to write essays, how to help them organize their compositions, how to recognize Greek and Latin words that serve as suffixes and prefixes to get the meanings of compound words, how to teach new idioms, and discuss gerunds, etc.

I felt like a fraud.

I did not teach anything new. I even assumed that these things were no longer taught in high school and my classes were just a review of what they were supposed to have learned at lower levels.

But the teacher told me that she hadn’t encountered the lesson I gave when she was in college.

I gave her my Pahinungod teaching materials. It was the most I could do for her. I even gave her my Dadufalza book, which all freshmen in my university carry throughout their Comm I life.

Then I thought she was a fraud.

Maybe she was, maybe she wasn’t.

Where we are today

Suddenly I remembered a story my mother told me when she served as a member of the monitoring group of the Project Rescue Initiatives in Science Education (RISE). Sponsored by the Department of Science and Technology many years ago, RISE aimed to help upgrade Math and Science teaching in the country by training public-school teachers.

During their monitoring work, my mother and the others caught a public high-school teacher teaching her students that Nicolaus Copernicus was Polish.

“Ma’am, what is Polish?” a student asked.

“He polishes the floor,” the teacher said proudly.

No. The teacher was not joking. She was dead serious—and she was showing off her teaching abilities to the monitoring group.

That, I am sad to say, is still where we are today.

Systemic problem

Of course my coteachers and I failed to increase enrollment in UP of students from the AAP-targeted provinces. It was silly of us to expect positive results. Neither did Project RISE in my mother’s time succeed in upgrading Math and Science teaching in the country.

In fact the data I got from the Department of Education show that the Philippines was 23rd among the 25 countries ranked in the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMMS) for the elementary level in 2003.

And we ranked 41st in Math and 42nd in Science among 45 countries in the TIMMS for the high-school level also in 2003.

Trying to “bridge the gap” was never the solution, I thought. All I knew then was that we could never undo years of error, neglect, indifference, poverty and corruption in just two weeks. Even if we stayed in that province for a whole year, we would hardly have made a difference.
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 21, 2006 6:34 am    Post subject: No more ivory tower programs for they are but sweet nothings Reply with quote

No more ivory tower programs for they are but sweet nothings

20 August 2006
By DR. CARLITO S. PUNO, CHED Chairman

THE Philippine Higher Education System at present is confronted with formidable challenges. It has to undergo radical transformation and renewal if it is to effectively play its unprecedented role in the present day society, if it is to be a vital component of economic, technological and political development in the national and international scenario.


In a world of turbulent changes, there is a need for a new vision and paradigm of higher education calling for major changes in policies, practices, means of service deliveries and linkages with local and global institutions. To realize these vision and directions it is necessary to re-engineer curricula using more focused and appropriate methods so as to go beyond cognitive mastery of disciplines and apply new pedagogical and didactical approaches.

The more effective university and college presidents must rise over and above their past experiences. One of the paradoxes of success is that the ways and means which got them to the presidency seldom are the ones that will keep them there… a lesson very hard to learn. All too often on the long road up, young academicians become "servants of what is" rather than being "shapers of what should be" thereby prolonging the "not yet phenomenon."

In the process of learning how the system works these up and coming educators got rewarded for playing well within the intricate structure of existing rules, and by the time they reach the top, they have become trained prisoners of the structure.

This is not all bad: Every system reaffirms itself. But no system can stay vital for long unless its leaders remain sufficiently open and independent to help the system change and improve.

The great divide (mismatch) between what the industry needs and what HEIs produce as graduates

When the CHED Chairman made his report in the Cabinet meeting held last June 20, 2006, one issue that came to focus was the big mismatch (quantitatively and qualitatively) in the professional demand and supply analysis. One example given was: The country will need and be able to absorb only about 40,000 teachers the next five years; the projected teacher education graduates is 350,000. This projected oversupply is true with Business Management, Communication Arts and Customs Administration courses. There are indeed oversubscribed popular courses and undersubscribed but very much needed course offerings like science, mathematics, and some technical courses.

Redirection of course preferences:

There is an urgent need to re-direct the course preferences of our graduating high school students as well as present first year and second year college students.

The quantitative mismatch has been in existence in Philippine Higher Education for several decades. Several attempts have been made but in the past the situation did not seem to improve. In its special Commission En Banc meeting held last July 3, 2006, a major paradigm shift was unanimously agreed upon to address this nagging issue. The locus and the focus of the Commission’s program thrust will be to correct these quantitative and qualitative mismatches. This cannot be done on a "piece meal" basis; it should be done through a highly focused and coordinated approach.

Quantitative mismatch

To address the quantitative mismatch

1. Implement a National Career Streaming and Qualifying Examination

This will come in the form of an aptitude test to guide the high school graduating students on what course to take. At present the students rely on what they hear, what their parents will tell them and what course their "barkada" will take. Based on the result of this examination, the student maybe given three course choices to choose from.

2. Conduct Aggressive Career Guidance and Counseling for graduating high school students as well as first and second year college students. Since the first two years of college curriculum are general education courses it is not yet too late for them to change their course preferences.

3. For Oversubscribed Courses, to redirect students from enrolling in these over-subscribed curricular programs thru:

3.1 Rigid screening in the admission for these curricular offerings.

3.2 Imposition of quota system.

3.3 More liberal tuition fee increase to discourage students from enrolling in these courses.

3.4 Moratorium or stringent requirements in the opening of more oversubscribed courses.

4. For Undersubscribed Courses, attract students by:

4.1 Providing Scholarship and other incentives for students enrolling in undersubscribed but needed courses.

4.2 Providing government subsidy in the procurement of equipments in these priority curricular offerings

5. Professionalize (Require Board Examinations) all higher education courses.

6. Require all Higher Education Institutions both public and private to convert their elementary and high schools to Integrated Science Schools.

7. Allow SUC’s with Teacher Education Courses to accept 1000 elementary and 1000 high school students for their laboratory Integrated Science Schools. This will also help decongest and help alleviate the classroom shortage in public primary schools.

8. Aggressively Implement of Ladderization Program.

Qualitative Mismatch

This problem is evident in the failure of our college graduates to get employment in their area of expertise or specialization. We have Teacher Education graduates going abroad to be employed as Domestic Helpers, Business Management graduates being hired as clerks or even messengers, holders of bachelor degrees becoming drivers and others. Worst is when these College degree holders join the ranks of the unemployed.

To address this qualitative mismatch

1. Improve Quality of Instruction by:

1.1 Providing Graduates Study Scholarships for college faculty in English, Science, Mathematics and other priority courses.

1.2 SUCs offering graduate study scholarship for elementary and high school teachers in English, Science and Mathematics. It has been observed that many of these teachers do not have as their majors the abovementioned courses they are teaching.

2. Offer pre-Baccalaureate Program for high school graduate who will get very low scores in the National Career Streaming and Qualifying Examination.

3. Establish graduate school tie-ups with leading foreign universities in Science and technical courses. For lack of technical graduate degree holders we do not have enough graduate programs in the technical disciplines. Of the few that we have, a good number of their faculty are graduate degree holders in Education, Public and Business Administration.

4. Expand National and International Practicum Programs, and obtain more bi-lateral Academic Agreements; and Liberalize Twinning Programs with foreign universities. This is to make the Philippines a center of Higher Education in Asia by:

4.1 Attracting foreign students to enroll in our medical schools sustain viability of operations. If possible, make international institutions finance the upgrading of local school facilities.

4.2 Tying up local Nursing Programs to foreign nursing programs and making arrangements for Nursing RLE to be taken in foreign tertiary hospitals;

4.3 Conversion of secondary hospitals to tertiary hospitals and primary hospitals to secondary hospitals.

5. Re-engineer academic curricula to make these IT enabled, market responsive and globally competitive, by:

5.1 Offering of the UP Ladderized Program in Medicine to help solve the acute shortage of medical doctors in the countryside.

5.2 Offering of New Emerging Courses in Science and Technology i.e. Nano Technology, biotechnology, bio-diesel and materials science.

5.3 Conversion of Business Management major courses to Bachelor of Science in Entrepreneurship.

5.4 Inclusion of Agribusiness subjects in Agriculture courses.

6. Higher Education Institutions to create a unit that will promote tie-ups with local industries as well as linkages with foreign universities.

Conclusion

The proposed paradigm shifts calling for a more focused and comprehensive action plan are aimed to systematically change the critical structures and processes in higher education. What could have happened in the past is that key academic leaders only resorted to addition and subtraction of curricular programs and activities without necessarily knowing the basic way in which these educational programs and administrative activities are practiced.

For a closing reminder let me say that decision-making is never a tidy affair. Decisions are made revised or even reversed. Achieving a goal may simply make the next goal more urgent. Inside every solution are the seeds of new problems and most of the time most things are beyond control. But one thing sure: We should get things done.
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 27, 2006 3:26 pm    Post subject: SCIENCE-RELATED ATTITUDES AND INTERESTS OF STUDENTS Reply with quote

SCIENCE-RELATED ATTITUDES AND INTERESTS OF STUDENTS
by
Vivien M. Talisayon, Fe S. de Guzman, and Celia R. Balbin
University of the Philippines
Diliman, Quezon City, Philippines


Talisayon V.M., de Guzman F.S., Balbin C.R. (2006, 30 July - 4 August). Science-Related Attitudes and Interests of Students. Paper presented at the XII IOSTE Symposium: Science and Technology Education in the service of Humankind, Penang, Malaysia.

Abstract
This paper presents a profile of interests and experiences of Filipino students nationwide,
that are related to science in school and outside school. The profile describes and intercorrelates
what students want to learn about, their future job, environmental challenges,
attitude towards their science classes, opinions about science and technology, out-ofschool
science-related experiences, and what they would like to do as researcher. Gender
and regional differences are also examined. The Philippine data are compared with some
international results, including inter-correlations of overall rating in selected items,
human development index and student science achievement in an international study of
eleven countries.
Keywords: science curriculum, children’s experiences, interests, priorities, gender
difference, regional comparisons

The full paper:

http://www.ils.uio.no/english/.....te2006.pdf
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 18, 2007 8:50 am    Post subject: Scientific literacy -- How do Americans stack up? Reply with quote

Michigan State University
17 February 2007

Scientific literacy -- How do Americans stack up?



SAN FRANCISCO -- Having a basic knowledge of scientific principles is no longer a luxury but, in today’s complex world, a necessity.

And, according to a Michigan State University researcher, while Americans are holding their own, they are not even close to where they should be.

Participating at 3:45 p.m. PST today in an American Association for the Advancement of Science symposium, titled "Science Literacy and Pseudoscience," MSU’s Jon Miller said that Americans, while slightly ahead of their European counterparts when it comes to scientific knowledge, still have a long way to go.

"A slightly higher proportion of American adults qualify as scientifically literate than European or Japanese adults, but the truth is that no major industrial nation in the world today has a sufficient number of scientifically literate adults," he said. "We should take no pride in a finding that 70 percent of Americans cannot read and understand the science section of the New York Times."

Approximately 28 percent of American adults currently qualify as scientifically literate, an increase from around 10 percent in the late 1980s and early 1990s, according to Miller’s research.

A professor in political science, Miller said one reason for the Americans’ slim lead is that the United States is the only major nation in the world that requires its college students to take general science courses.

"Although university science faculties have often viewed general education requirements with disdain," he said, "analyses indicate that the courses promote civic scientific literacy among U.S. adults despite the disappointing performance of American high school students in international testing."

Adding to the United States’ relatively good showing is Americans’ use of informal science education resources, such as science magazines, news magazines, science museums and the Internet.

Why is it important to have a population wise in the ways of science? Miller listed several reasons, including the need for a more sophisticated work force; a need for more scientifically literate consumers, especially when it comes to purchasing electronics; and, equally as important, a scientifically literate electorate who can help shape public policy.

"Over recent decades, the number of public policy controversies that require some scientific or technical knowledge for effective participation has been increasing," he said. "Any number of issues, including the siting of nuclear power plants, nuclear waste disposal facilities, and the use of embryonic stem cells in biomedical research point to the need for an informed citizenry in the formulation of public policy."

To be classified as "scientifically literate," Miller said one must be able to understand approximately 20 of 31 scientific concepts and terms similar to those that would be found in articles that appear in the New York Times weekly science section and in an episode of the PBS program "NOVA."

###
Miller is the Hannah Professor of integrative studies at MSU. He has appointments in the Division of Mathematics and Science Education and the Department of Political Science.
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 19, 2007 10:01 am    Post subject: SCIENTIFIC LITERACY HAPPENS … WHEN STUDENTS THINK FOR THEMSE Reply with quote

[Embargoed until 6:30 PM ET Feb. 18, 2007, to coincide with a presentation at the American Association for the Advancement of Science meeting in San Francisco.]

SCIENTIFIC LITERACY HAPPENS … WHEN STUDENTS THINK FOR THEMSELVES

Ohio State University
18 February 2007

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Give college students less instruction and more freedom to think for themselves in laboratory classes, and the result may be a four-fold increase in their test scores.

So says Steve Rissing, a professor of evolution, ecology and organismal biology at Ohio State University. Rissing played a major role in revamping the way the university teaches its introductory-level biology courses.

“For one, we got away from the cookbook method of teaching concepts of biology in a lab course,” he said. “Instead, many of those classes now include real experiments that leave room for additional inquiry.”


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

“The students in the first group were just as intelligent as those in the second group,” Rissing said. “They just lacked confidence. No teacher had ever asked them something as simple as how do they want to display what they saw in the experiment. They had always been told how to do that.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The effort paid off. During a talk at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in San Francisco, Rissing cited one particularly difficult laboratory experiment in which students worked with enzymes. Students often struggled through this exercise, and usually scored poorly when later tested on the implications of the experiment's findings.

Rissing asked the laboratory instructors – usually graduate students in biology – to use two different approaches over two academic quarters when teaching the experiment. Roughly 300 students, all taking an introductory biology course for science majors, were in each group. The first group used what Rissing calls the “cookbook method” – they followed step-by-step instructions on how to carry out the experiment and display their results. These students were provided with a standard, prepared enzyme solution.

The second group of students had to prepare their own enzyme solutions from a piece of raw turnip. They were also given more freedom to think through their approach to the same experiment, and were encouraged to use critical thinking and hands-on discovery to come up with their approach.

At the end of their respective experiments, both groups of students were asked one simple question: Where do enzymes occur in nature?

About one out of five students (23 percent) in the “cookbook” group answered the question correctly. But 83 percent of the students who developed their own approach gave the right answer, which was that enzymes come from living tissue.

“The students in the first group were just as intelligent as those in the second group,” Rissing said. “They just lacked confidence. No teacher had ever asked them something as simple as how do they want to display what they saw in the experiment. They had always been told how to do that.

“Educators thought they were doing students a wonderful favor by giving them step-by-step instructions,” he added.

Rissing's overarching goal is to teach students to be independent and objective thinkers, to create a group of scientifically literate citizens who can intelligently discuss multi-faceted issues such as stem cell biology, evolution, genetically modified organisms and the like. This applies to science majors and non-majors alike.

“Right now, we just beat the beauty out of everything,” Rissing said. “Students learn vocabulary. That's it. They don't understand evolution, nor do they understand the beauty of diversity.

“College graduates are going to have trouble having a meaningful public discussion about these issues if they don't have some perception of what these things even are.”

Some 40,000 students passed through Ohio State's introductory biology courses during the five years that Rissing directed the university's introductory biology program. While he's no longer the director, the students still follow the curriculum he helped establish.

The majority of students taking these courses aren't science majors and, in theory, may have very little interest in sitting in a biology classroom.

“So we liberated the non-majors curriculum,” Rissing said. “In most cases, instructors tended to teach watered-down biology to students taking these introductory classes.”

The curriculum for non-majors now focuses on the implication of “big picture” issues. Students enrolled in these courses are often required to read the New York Times each day and be ready to discuss science-related issues that make headlines.

“My job isn't to prepare these students for med school,” Rissing said. “My job is to help the students attain a level of scientific literacy so that they can contribute to a serious discussion on these larger issues.”

Rissing pointed out that scientific literacy rates in the United States have risen to 16 percent, up from 9 percent about a decade ago. He attributes that in part to changing how students, and ultimately their teachers, are taught.

“The most crucial players in fostering scientific literacy are the K-12 science teachers, but we teach those teachers in college,” Rissing said. “The college professors and scientists are ultimately the ones that foster public understanding and opinions of science.”
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 07, 2007 1:03 pm    Post subject: On being a teacher Reply with quote

On being a teacher
STAR SCIENCE By Caesar Saloma, Ph.D.
The Philippine STAR 03/08/2007
http://www.philstar.com/philst.....084402.htm

We yearn to learn from a teacher. In an ideal world, that is possible,
or at least in the movies, it is not difficult to sympathize with or
even adore teachers. Think of Mr. Miyagi (played by Pat Morita) in the
Karate Kid or Henry Jones (acted by Harrison Ford) in the Indiana Jones
series. Many of us grew up admiring these heroic characters and only a
demented mind would disagree that both Miyagi-sensei and Professor Jones
represent something that is noble and right in civil society. We want to
emulate these characters and it is not because they symbolize immense
wealth or near absolute political power - Miyagi and Jones had none of
these. The reason seems to be our innate recognition that teachers are
invaluable in human societies - they impart knowledge that allows us to
understand ourselves better. Civilizations are shaped and enriched by
teachers.

Teaching is a vocation that requires technical skill, selflessness and
commitment. Every discipline from the basic sciences and mathematics to
medicine and engineering, needs its own coterie of talented teachers in
order to avoid stagnation and decline. Teachers ensure that skills are
continuously refined and passed on to the next generation. They
guarantee that specialized knowledge is shared and tested incessantly
through time. To accomplish these difficult tasks, teachers often put
the interest of their students first above their own even in the absence
of a tenable material reward.

The need for competent and dedicated teachers is most dire in our
graduate programs in the natural and applied sciences, mathematics and
engineering. The Philippines is unable to produce a sufficient number of
PhD graduates due to the lack of qualified mentors to supervise graduate
students. A 2004 study published in the journal Nature reported that
there is one PhD for every 3,316, 11,621 and 6,533 heads of population
in Germany, Japan and US, respectively. In the Philippines where the
2007 population is estimated to be around 88 million, the total number
of PhDs is likely to be below 2,000. To achieve the PhD density profile
of Japan, our country needs more than 7,500 PhDs.

A PhD degree is a research degree. It is the last formal degree that
could be earned in the conventional system of matriculated training. The
PhD degree is awarded to a student who has contributed something
original, novel and valuable to the body of scientific knowledge. The
constant generation of new knowledge is strategically vital to our
country because it is the fuel that drives technological innovation,
which in turn allows industries to prosper in a ruthless global economy.
More than 440 years after the birth of Galileo, scientific knowledge has
attained such an advanced state that it is now impossible for a student
to satisfy the stringent requirement of a PhD degree without the
guidance of an experienced mentor.

The incapacity of our current higher education system to train
technically competent scientists and engineers in significant numbers
hampers the efficacy of our country in attracting a substantial amount
of foreign direct investment that is crucial in creating well-paying
jobs for our people. The scarcity of viable graduate programs is a major
cause of the persistent migration of talented BS graduates in the
sciences and engineering. The brain drain that is happening is more due
to the absence of a sensible option than to the lack of love of country.


Even in advanced countries, schools and universities are not known to be
among the most generous of employers in terms of salaries and benefits.
And the situation is worse in an emerging economy like the Philippines.
A survey published in the journal Science in November 2006 reported a US
academic median salary for 2006 of $78,382 and $60,809 for male and
female, respectively. The corresponding salary in the private sector is
1.34 and 1.29 times higher. In the University of the Philippines, the
maximum salary of a full professor (rank 12) is P361,356 or $7374.6 (one
dollar = P49) which is one order of magnitude less that his/her US
counterpart. A young PhD normally in his late 20s or early 30s who is
holding the rank of an assistant professor receives an annual salary of
P245,184 - not enough to decently support a housewife and an offspring.

It is heartening to note that the both government and the private sector
are investing more seriously to build more school classrooms and to hire
more teachers. Many of our countrymen believe that the Philippines must
improve the quality of the science and mathematics instruction that is
delivered in most elementary and high schools. And they are right.
However, our national investment in science education would be futile if
our country is unable to provide excellent graduate programs that will
retain the best and the brightest young Filipino minds. The skillful
graduates that are produced by our science high schools and colleges
will only end up in the graduate programs of foreign universities.
Neighboring countries like Japan, South Korea, Singapore and Taiwan ROC
have spent heavily sprucing their science and engineering departments.
They are now on the lookout for talented graduate students. If the
current situation with its graduate programs is not addressed
effectively, investment by the Philippines in basic science education is
an unintended subsidy to the higher education efforts of its wealthier
neighbors.

A university is a place for higher learning. Its reputation is derived
from the creative prowess of its faculty. The US has the best higher
education system in the world and its universities set up endowment
funds to attract and retain the best available faculty. Great professors
attract talented students (and not the other way around). Together they
organize into research teams that draw the serious funding attention of
the private sector and government agencies. Individuals who are part of
these powerhouse teams are the most likely to make excellent
contributions to science, win the Nobel Prize and bring pride to a
nation.

Companies and universities around the world are engaged in a relentless
search for talent. Both the government and the private sector should
recognize the profound implications of this global trend to the
self-esteem and future prosperity of the Filipino nation. They should
initiate sensible ways of celebrating and recognizing the contributions
of mentors and as a result, encourage young scientists and researchers
to follow their path.

* * *
Caesar Saloma is a member of the National Academy of Science and
Technology, Philippines. He is a professor of physics at the National
Institute of Physics and presently the dean of the College of Science in
UP Diliman. E-mail him at caesar.saloma@gmail.com.
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PostPosted: Fri May 04, 2007 3:11 pm    Post subject: HELPING YOUR CHILD LEARN SCIENCE Reply with quote

Foreword to the following website:

HELPING YOUR CHILD LEARN SCIENCE
http://www.ed.gov/pubs/parents/Science/index.html

This book provides examples of a few simple activities we can do with our children. It is an introduction to the wealth of material in many other books available in libraries and bookstores. It might also inspire us to make up our own experiments to see why and how things turn out the way they do.

Science is not something mysterious. Being "scientific" involves being curious, observing, asking how things happen, and learning how to find the answers. Curiosity is natural to children, but they need help understanding how to make sense of what they see.

Parents help their children learn--by reading to and with them, by helping them learn to count and calculate, by helping them begin to write, and in many other ways.

Most parents, though, say they do not--or cannot--help their children with science. But we don't need degrees in chemistry or physics to help our children. All we need is a willingness to observe and learn with them, and, above all, to make an effort and take the time to nurture their natural curiosity.

Achieving a higher degree of skill in science and math is one of the national education goals. AMERICA 2000, the long-term national education strategy designed to accomplish these goals, and which was announced by President Bush on April 18 of this year, points out how important our role as parents is:

Most of all, it will take America's parents--in their schools, their communities, their homes--as helpers, as examples, as leaders, as demanding shareholders of our schools to make the AMERICA 2000 education strategy work--to make this land all it should be.
AMERICA 2000 reminds us that "For schools to succeed, we must look beyond their classrooms to our communities and families."
We can use this book to have fun with our children while they learn. Whether we're baking a cake, filling the bathtub, or walking through the park, we can invite our children into the wonders of science. Often when we least expect it, a moment for learning will occur: a dollop of ice cream drops on the sidewalk and ants appear.

Our national education goals made becoming literate in science important for all Americans. The President and the Governors have set these challenging goals, and it is up to all of us to do our best to help our children learn what they will need to know in order to live and work in today's world and in the next century. As always, starting early is important--and perhaps never more so than with science.

As U.S. Education Secretary Lamar Alexander has said, "There are new World Class Standards in math, in science, in history, in geography, and in English that we must meet today, standards that were not necessary to meet even 10 or 20 years ago."

So, let's get started by finding an activity in this book and trying it.

Bruno V. Manno
Acting Assistant Secretary
Office of Educational Research and Improvement

A collection of science lessons:
http://www.reachoutmichigan.or.....bject.html
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 26, 2007 1:58 pm    Post subject: College science success linked to math and same-subject prep Reply with quote

Harvard University
26 July 2007

College science success linked to math and same-subject preparation
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. -- Researchers at Harvard University and the University of Virginia have found that high school coursework in one of the sciences generally does not predict better college performance in other scientific disciplines. But there's one notable exception: Students with the most rigorous high school preparation in mathematics perform significantly better in college courses in biology, chemistry, and physics.

The work will be published this week in the journal Science.

Authors Philip M. Sadler of Harvard and Robert H. Tai of Virginia say the findings run counter to the claims of an educational movement called "Physics First," which argues that physics underlies biology and chemistry, and therefore the traditional order of high school science education -- biology, chemistry, physics -- should be reversed.

"Our findings knock out one of the primary claims of 'Physics First' advocates," says Sadler, F.W. Wright Senior Lecturer in Astronomy in Harvard's Faculty of Arts and Sciences and director of the Science Education Department at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. "Taking more physics does not appear to improve students' subsequent performance in either chemistry or biology courses."

"Many arguments have been made for chemistry and physics preparation to benefit the learning of biology," says Tai, an assistant professor in Virginia's Curry School of Education. "On the scale of single cells, many processes are physical, such as neurons 'firing' electrically. Also, the complex molecules at the root of life obey chemical laws that are manifested in macroscopic processes. Yet our analysis provides no support for the argument that physics and chemistry principles are inherently beneficial to the study of biology at the introductory level."

Sadler and Tai surveyed 8,474 students enrolled in introductory science courses at 63 randomly selected four-year colleges and universities across the U.S. The students reported on their high school coursework (0, 1, or 2 years) in biology, chemistry, physics, and mathematics; this data was then correlated with their ultimate performance in their introductory college science courses. Sadler and Tai subjected this raw data to robust modeling to correct for socioeconomic factors that may advantage some students, including race, parental education level, and mean educational level of students' home communities, as defined by ZIP code.

Not surprisingly, the controlled data indicated that high school preparation in any of the scientific disciplines -- biology, chemistry, or physics -- boosted college performance in the same subject. Also, students with the most coursework in high school mathematics performed strikingly better in their introductory biology and chemistry courses in college; introductory college-level physics performance also benefited. Conversely, little correlation was seen between the amount of high school coursework in biology, chemistry, or physics and college performance in any of the other disciplines in this trio.

"The link between math and biology is not exactly an intuitive one, but biology has become an increasingly quantitative discipline," Sadler says. "Many high school students are now performing statistical analysis of genetic outcomes in addition to dissecting frogs and studying cells under a microscope."

The current order of high school science education was established in the 1890s, in an attempt to standardize what was then a system of wildly disparate science education in high schools across the U.S. Biology was given primacy in that ordering in part because the late 19th century experienced a flowering of interest in the natural world, and also because it was perceived to be less daunting intellectually than either chemistry or physics.

###

Sadler and Tai's work was funded by the National Science Foundation's Interagency Educational Research Initiative.
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 15, 2007 10:14 am    Post subject: UCF physicist says Hollywood movies hurt students' understan Reply with quote

University of Central Florida
15 August 2007

UCF physicist says Hollywood movies hurt students' understanding of science

Movies such as Spiderman 2 and Speed generate excitement among audiences with their cool special effects. But they also defy the laws of physics, contributing to students’ ignorance about science.

Two University of Central Florida professors show just how poorly Hollywood writers and directors understand science in an article published in the German journal “Praxis der Naturwissenschaften Physik.” Common sense may indicate that people should know the stunts in movies are just make believe, but the professors say that’s not necessarily true.

Some people really do believe a bus traveling 70 mph can clear a 50-foot gap in a freeway, as depicted in the movie Speed. And, if that were realistic, a ramp would be needed to adjust the direction of motion to even try to make the leap, said UCF professor Costas J. Efthimiou, who co-authored the article.

“Students come here, and they don’t have any basic understanding of science,” he said. “Sure, people say everyone knows the movies are not real, but my experience is many of the students believe what they see on the screen.”

And that’s not just a UCF problem. Efthimiou said students across the United States seem to have the same challenge with science. It starts young.

The Science and Engineering Indicators 2006 report seems to support his observations. The report shows that the average science scores among 12th graders in the U.S. dropped from the previous year. The scores remained stagnant in the fourth and eighth grades. Worse, only about one-third of all students tested were proficient, meaning they had a solid understanding of what they should know.

If youngsters aren’t getting the basics at the elementary level, it becomes very difficult for them to continue to study the subjects in college and virtually impossible for them to make significant contributions to the scientific community, Efthimiou said.

Efthimiou began teaching a basic physics course at UCF in 2000. He described the experience as “horrible.” The students feared the subject matter and complained his class was too hard. Instead of continuing with the standard fare, he approached former UCF physics chair R.A. Llewellyn. Together, they came up with the movie approach now known as “Physics in Film.” They launched the course in the summer of 2002, and today it is among the most popular on campus.

“I needed a hook to get the students interested in science,” Efthimiou said. “I needed something to get them beyond this fear. Now it is one of the most popular classes.”

Efthimiou spends hours watching hundreds of films to find scenes that illustrate the physics concepts he needs to teach. For example, he uses a scene from Superman when the hero flies around the earth an in effort to reverse time and save Lois Lane from death. When students show up to class, they dissect the scenes and learn the real laws of physics. In the Superman example, he explains the real way angular momentum works.

“It’s a lot of work, but it is worth it,” he said. “It’s a way to get them science literate.”

Why would a veteran professor go through all of that trouble" Because he, like many scientists across the United States, is worried that if science and math education doesn’t improve, society will pay the price.

“All the luxuries we have today, the modern conveniences, are a result of the science research that went on in the ’60s during the space race,” Efthimiou said. “It didn’t just happen. It took people doing hard science to do it.”

The paper, “Hollywood Blockbusters: Unlimited Fun but Limited Science Literary,” is a direct product of the class he’s been teaching for five years. It’s loaded with physics, algebra and humor. But the message is clear. It’s time to get serious about science education.

Efthimiou, who has a doctorate from Cornell University, enjoys a good movie. But he said we should be as eager to get a good science education as we are to see the next big blockbuster.
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 07, 2007 2:24 pm    Post subject: School: Not the Only Way to Learn Reply with quote

School: Not the Only Way to Learn
By Meredith F. Small, LiveScience's Human Nature Columnist

posted: 07 September 2007 08:33 am ET

All over the country, little kids are hoisting their backpacks and stepping aboard a fleet of mustard-yellow busses. They will spend six hours a day away from home for the next nine months learning to read and write, and how to keep still.

At the same time, many parents are packing their cars with the entire contents of teenage bedrooms and driving older kids off to college. For most of these young adults, it will be the first time they'll have to find their own dinner and wash their own clothes.

For the full article:

http://www.livescience.com/his.....chool.html
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 22, 2007 10:03 am    Post subject: How can we improve teaching and learning in schools? Reply with quote

Economic & Social Research Council
21 Setember 2007


How can we improve teaching and learning in schools?

Britain’s biggest-ever programme of education research has found at least some of the answers, and is sharing them with every school in Britain.

Principles into Practice, a new publication from the Teaching and Learning Research Programme, will be sent out to all schools over the next few days. It sets out the 10 principles for effective teaching and learning which the TLRP has drawn up on the basis of over 20 research projects looking at all levels of school education.

Professor Andrew Pollard, director of the TLRP, said: “Effective teaching and learning enables children to perform well at school. It also shows them how to be effective learners throughout life. Our research projects have looked at consulting pupils to improve motivation, using assessment to support “Learning How to Learn,” managing classroom groups to produce collaborative skills, structuring the curriculum to achieve intellectual challenge, using new technologies to expand understanding, and making use of knowledge from beyond school in more constructive way. Principles into Practice explains how these methods work and gives case studies of their successful use.

“If we want confident learners for the future we have to rethink teaching, learning and assessment”

As well as research reports and case studies, Principles into Practice includes a DVD of classroom activities and interviews illustrating the research, and a staffroom poster of the ten principles for effective teaching and learning which TLRP has developed.


###
Principles into Practice can be found as a PDF on the TLRP website, at http://www.tlrp.org/pub/docume.....%20Res.pdf
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 17, 2007 8:51 am    Post subject: LearnersTV.com Reply with quote

Welcome to LearnersTV.com.

This is a comprehensive site providing FREE Video lectures, Animations, LiveOnline Tests, Audio lectures, ebook download links etc in the fields of Biology, Physics,Chemistry,Mathematics,Computer Science,Medicine etc...

This site provides free video/audio lectures of whole courses conducted by faculty from reputed institutions around the world like MIT. We provide excellent animations which helps in visualizing and understanding concepts. Free live timed online tests with instant feedback and explanations will definitely help learners around the globe. This site will be updated daily to include more free video lecture courses, animations, e-book download links and more in various subject categories. Most of the materials offered are licensed under a Creative Commons License.

The website:

http://www.learnerstv.com/
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 02, 2007 1:40 pm    Post subject: Strengthening Teaching Effectiveness Through Cooperative Lea Reply with quote

Published online 1 April 2007
Published in HortTechnology 17: 151-272 (2007)
© 2007 American Society for Horticultural Science

Teaching Methods

Strengthening Teaching Effectiveness Through Cooperative Learning Activities

Elsa Sánchez1,3,4 and Richard Craig1,2
1 Department of Horticulture, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA 16802
2 Assistant Professor of Horticultural Systems Management
3 J. Franklin Styer Professor Emeritus of Horticultural Botany


A variety of cooperative activities are part of the plant systematics course at The Pennsylvania State University: a learning fair hosted by the students enrolled in the course for elementary school students, applied laboratory examinations, and applied laboratory exercises. Each activity was constructed to engage students in the learning process as well as to aid in developing useful skills for future employment. A survey administered to students enrolled in the course from 2003 to 2005 revealed that most students "strongly agreed" or "agreed" that they liked working in cooperative groups and learned from other group members. Student participation in the lecture portion of the course increased as cooperative activities were completed. Organization and planning were vital to using these activities, as were small groups and adequate incentives for completing activities.

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http://horttech.ashspublicatio.....t/17/2/254
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